Thursday, 5 May 2011

Names and Dog brains

I have been in the creative doldrums since Crabzilla. It's taken me until this afternoon to get the house looking like something other than a fatal explosion in a confectionery factory. Mainly I stuck to looking around in sorrow and sighing deeply, it seemed safer.

The best fun of the last 2 days has been an exchange with my friend F about the gender of hippy names.

E: Mulch?

F: Boy. Grumble, Mooncrater.

E: Both boys, I think.

F: Lacinato (a type of kale, I had no idea). That's definitely a boy's name.

E: Sandal?

F: Girl

E: Nimbus.

F: Girl. Cymbal?

E: Also a girl.

F: Pubis?

E: Definitely a boy. Like Clovis.

F: "Little Pubis! He's so like his father". Hummus?

E: Boy. Tarama for a girl.

F: Yes, Taramasalata. Tarama for short.

E: Then there are the triplets, Seitan, Tofu and Quorn. Girl, boy, boy.

F: My mother once asked someone her child's name and she said "Lasagna". My mother just asked if it was with an A or an E.

Please suggest your own, with gender, in the comments.

I also took the dog to the park yesterday evening. We had a pleasant enough time until its brain just sort of exploded. I filmed it briefly, to give you some inkling of how most of our interactions go. You will see that I speak to the dog 1. In French (seems to work better); and 2. As if both he and I are profoundly stupid (which may well be true on the strength of this clip, but I am not sure if this 'works'. It certainly didn't here).

The bit where he gets distracted at the end, by dust, or possibly someone opening a packet of crisps 300 miles away, is entirely typical.

It's been a long, pointless day, and now I have to take the dog out AGAIN. Entertain me, please.


Pat (in Belgium) said...

Correction: Neither one of you is "stupid". You are hopeful (BIG difference!) and you don't want to wade in after the damn ball. Oscar simply doesn't want to get his wet.
As for "hippie" names (being one of that lovely "lost"? generation), I knew of two Sunshines (both girls. One was Gypsy Sunshine; she now goes by Gigi) and one Rainbow Walker (his dad had a thing about Native Americans).
Fortunately, we waited long enough to have a child so that she got the very decent (and I think feisty) name Kate (think Kate Hepburn and Shakespeare's Kate) Although now I'm afraid the recent Royal Wedding will spawn a plethora of Kates, dammit!

wv "amble" which is what I'm now going to do....

Sophie Sofasaurus said...

osCAIRRR! How wonderfully Francophone.

Teena Vallerine said...

Mr and Mrs Ulberga's son Len?

Nimble said...

When I lived in San Francisco I met two Lichens, both female.

Z said...

My granddaughter's pre-birth name was Squiffany, which lives on as her blog-name. I asked my son, what if it's a boy? "Squifford", he replied.

I do need two boys' blog-names for my latest as yet unborn grandchildren, so I shall read comments with interest. Devoted as I am to Saki, I think that Clovis was just too pert and difficult to live with.

OonaghJA said...

Hmm I know someone called Candida - is it hippy to call your child after a yeast infection? Obviously its a girl's name.....

Antje M. Rauwerda said...

Clelia (girl)
Frith (boy)
Chasm (boy)
Nuptial (girl)
Fontanelle (girl)
Patella (girl, as is Paella)
Grout (boy)

Anonymous said...

I love the way Oscar didn't appear to recognise his name in an English accent. I heard on the radio today that animals speak to each other in noises that are basically like having regional accents. Amazing but true. Has Oscar ever been to the UK? We could do a scientific experiment to test this.

Also, re hippy names; I must object to Tofu being a boy's name. Somehow I just can't see it. I'm going out on a limb here, but dairy products generally seem quite feminine, e.g. Edam, Brie. Especially when you contrast with the more androgynous Soya - definitely a boy.

I've also got Soba and Wasabi - both boys, right?

I've thought about this way too much.

Oh well. The things you do to avoid legal professional ethics revision...

Ellie said...

This is the opposite of hippie, but my friend went to high school in Houston (in the late eighties) with two girls named Velveeta and Aquanetta. Also, another friend works in the PICU in Memphis and documents baby names. Brontosauria and Candylicious are the two (real) names that stuck with me, as well as Meconium (the mother heard it in her birthing haze and thought it was pretty, and nothing would convince her otherwise), and Assholey, pronounced "Ashley." They were all girls except for Meconium.

London City (mum) said...

We had a 'Torr' in our school in the 70s. Also a 'Bo-Frederik'. Last I heard the latter is a gay flight attendant.
There are now a plethora of ridiculous names in my kids' school: LeSian, K'Shawn, Sojo...
Give me hippy names any day.


Waffle said...

SOYA IS SOOOO A GIRL'S NAME. And I am not at all sure Soba and Wasabi are both boys.

(I am loving this. Loving. It is making me very happy. Continue).

Ellie, you must win some sort of prize for that comment. I am hysterical.

My next pet is going to be called Chasm. But what am I saying? There will BE no next pet. You've seen the existing one.

Miss Underscore said...

The kids' names at the School of Hard Knocks are truly incredible. My favourite was a girl who was named after her father's beloved motorbike. She was called Z-13. True story.

(I eagerly await the Greggs inspired names, I feel it is only a matter of time before we have a Peach Melba).

Eireann said...

DUDE. DUDE. DUDE. There was a girl in my brother's school whose name was pronounced "Fa-MAH-lli".

Because her parents, and this is serious, thought the hospital had named her when they put the tiny bracelet on that said "FEMALE [LAST NAME]". Yes. Her name was Female.

Not quite on-topic, but close. And REAL.

Lydia said...

In Stevenage, there is a child called Buddy Dinosaur. The local paper published a list of 'unusual' names. That one has stuck in my mind for some reason.

@GrahamCooper said...

My cousin sired both a 'Vigo' and 'Mondo', both boys, and an ex-colleague called her newborn Chardonnay. Thankfully that was not a boy. But I think it's a handicapped start in life to give the kid a stripper name.

@GrahamCooper said...

Oh, I nearly forgot: I used to work with a guy called Digby Christmas. And yes, he was just as nice as you could imagine anyone named that would be.

Z said...

I've just remembered, back 40 years ago there was someone in Lowestoft on the voters' register called Last Knights.

WrathofDawn said...

I used to work for a life insurance company, so got to see a lot of names. I don't remember any particularly hippie ones, but there were some doozies. Best one?

Misty Crystal Dawn Bird-Parrott. I kid you not. The mom's family name was Bird and the dad's was Parrott. Apparently, they didn't see the comedy inherent in the combination. And as if that wasn't enough, Misty Crystal Dawn. Oy vey.

Runner up, Lottie Dawe, which sounds like La-di-da! when you say it with our accent.

Also, a full compliment of Winston Churchills. SRSLY.

Anonymous said...

My parents knew a couple in the US called Randy and Pokey. Nicknames of course, so not strictly speaking on point, but thought apt to try a contribution...

Anonymous said...

Youngest child was, until I came to my senses, at a local hippy school. They talked a lot about their feelings and did a lot of forest craft. I digress. They had a River (m), Hero (f) and Aelfin (m), which always struck me as being the wrong way round. Hero is clearly a boy's name, it ends with an O, and the others are obviously girls' names.

Pets' names are great. A friend had a cat called Sump. It got run over and lost a leg, so became Stump. I promise that is true.

soleils said...

I can't remember exactly which Latin American country (I think Honduras) favours names based on car parts. They are the anti-hippies in a way, naming their offspring things like carburetor (boy), bujía (girl) or motor (boy).
If I was a hippie, I would maybe consider quinoa (g), quince (g or b), echinacea (g).
Mark E. Smith once said, there is only one thing worse than a hippy, and that is a hippy's kid.

soleils said...

WV system has just offered a hippie name: wingo!

Anonymous said...

These are the names of some of the boys in my son's first grade class:


...and then my son, James. So who's the marginal one, eh?

Antje M. Rauwerda said...

My uni French teacher:
Rae Gunn

Female Friend in grade school: Another Sunshine (also the middle name of a very right wing male homophobe colleague--whoops! Bet his parents had other ideas about how open-minded they wanted him to be)

Quinoa--boy (his sister is Amaranth)
Arbor--boy (sister Vine)
Verily--boy (sister Ruse)

Oh, this IS too fun.

Margaret said...

Real Names of Real People I Have Known:

1. LaTrine (one of my mom's 3rd-grade students)
2. Two girls named Unique in my sister's grade in high school
3. Champagne (not a stripper; the sister of a rich, "bohemian" friend)
4. A black guy named Patrick Goldberg

My mother's Maxim on Child Naming: If you name a boy Angel, he will do time; if you name a girl Desiree, she will grow up to be plain.

Wasn't Clelia the heroine of "Jerusalem the Golden"?

Finally, Oscar is a cat. That is the EXACT expression my cat has whenever I speak to her.

daisydot said...

My sister taught a Nylon (parents saw it on a clothing label) and a Sireric (break it into two syllables to pronounce).

WV is Scroty and I would use that for an annoying male child.

Antje M. Rauwerda said...

AND my neighbor (Zeb) just asked us to keep an eye on his house while he visits his daughter (Shoteria).

wv: stigi (girl)

Anonymous said...

Hawk: boy
Sage: boy
Juniper: girl

I know all of the above personally.


Wv: emistrop: girl, obvi

E said...

I knew some hippies long ago who lived on the Oxford canal with their twins named Xerxes and Appolinata. Pretty sure they just made up Appolinata to sound mythical. Nice.

Also used to know a Dutch woman called Roulje (I might be spelling that wrong), which was the colloquial word for something like 'yippee!' or 'yahoo!' where her parents were from.

Un-hippy-wise, I worked with a woman who had a granddaughter called Kiora-Leee (yes, 3). When her daughter got pregnant again, I really had to stop myself asking my co-worker if the next one was going to be called Um Bongo.

PS to the anonymous commenter - Hero IS a girl's name. Greek mythology, Shakespeare, etc.

Anonymous said...

Hawk: boy
Sage: boy
Juniper: girl

I know all of the above personally.


Wv: emistrop: girl, obvi

Anonymous said...

Ahha! Hippy names are open to interpretation - as momosyllabic and soleils proved with their girl/boy divide on 'quinoa'

But, mainly, the purpose of this comment is to express my joy at Margaret's point 1, 2 and 3. But especially 2. They all produce automatic smirk and giggle reflexes.

Perfect commenting peoples! xx

indigo16 said...

Oh, this is a rich playground indeed if you are a teacher. Families from the Caribbean offer much fun as they will often latch onto names sans signifier, hence a supply teacher called Adolf! I also worked with an Aladdin.
Children's names are of course a huger source of entertainment not least the spelling or lack of it.
My favourite hippy child was Honey; I was her tutor so got the pleasure of saying her name twice daily.
Currently we have a Blessing, but the schools favourite family is...
Atlanta, Demi & India..Christmas!

seminch said...

I lived opposite an American family in the 80's who had 2 children a son named Storm and daughter named Gale.......their surname was Force! My Ex husband also worked in those years with a man whose first name was Cobble.I actually ended up really liking Cob,sort of manly don't you think?
Hope your day goes well.

Anonymous said...

The sons of my friends American host family were named Odin and Thor. She never got to feel comfortable calling them both at once - in the slight fear that the heaven will fall upon our heads.

frau antje said...

I come from the hippie heartland, the high point of which was the time a friend's stepmother hitchhiked to New Mexico with a truck driver, and her father had to go collect her. We spent a few unsupervised days sitting on the Dutch door listening to the White Album.

I regret not having children in Holland, where many names appeal to me. Freek (boy), Joke (girl), etc. Perfect names for a place uninclined to sugarcoat things.

frau antje said...

I come from the hippie heartland, the high point of which was the time a friend's stepmother hitchhiked to New Mexico with a truck driver, and her father had to go collect her. We spent a few unsupervised days sitting on the Dutch door listening to the White Album.

I regret not having children in Holland, where many names appeal to me. Freek (boy), Joke (girl), etc. Perfect names for a place uninclined to sugarcoat things.

Anonymous said...

Rain- boy or girl. I've met both.

And thanks for this, you have cheered my morning considerably!

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Just loving le Weepette, srsly!

My son, also a James, is at Uni with a Chaos (male) - He has a sister, we think (but don't quite believe it) called Maelstrom...

I once had a colleague in another office, who must have had hippy parents, who named her Tempest, when their surname was allegedly Storm...

When James was just 'Bump', we toyed with calling a girl, Catalia, as in Catalia Grideo (cattle grid) - We might have done it, as we're both tree huggers too <3

Anonymous said...

Madeinusa for a girl, anyone? Heard/ seen in Brazil. Again, I think it was taken from a label.
Brazil is notorious for its bizarre names, particularly on the lower end of the socioeconomic ladder. It is completely routine for parents to take half the father's name and half the mother's, slap them together and come up with a completely new and hitherto unheard-of name. The originality is probably to be commended, but the results are almost painful to the ears - and eyes. Not forgetting another trend there as regards names: get an English surname and use it as a first name. If it's the surname of a prominent historical figure, so much the better. So, lots of former US president surnames used as first names in Brazil. I'm sure there are already hundreds of Obamas, but I really hope they don't use 'Bush'. I once heard of someone called "Eichmann" and I could never fathom how their parents might have dared to name a baby that...

Sarah said...

Tempeh - girl
Adzuki - boy
Coriander - boy
Hemp - boy
Tundra - girl

I don't know about Lentil, but I imagine boy.

Waffle said...

Tahini is also a girl.

Incidentally, Pat in Belgium, Oscar PUT the ball in the water when he went to lie in it. So the wet paws thing doesn't work. He is just defying me.

I cannot decide which names I like best. It is almost impossible.

Lindsey said...

My favourite EVER was a child I met in the States called D'Artagnan. Genius. My goddaughter is friends with a little boy called Bless, which is adorable. I hope he continues to be lovely as he grows up, though...

On the flip side, at university I befriended a girl called Rain, who would, when questioned about her name, raise her eyebrows and say in a fey way 'oh, you know, hippy parents'. However, it turned out that her parents weren't hippies at all, and her name was actually Lorraine. Not quite so picaresque, eh?

Dara said...

How about:
Cellar door-girl
Fairerly-girl (I kinda love that)

Anonymous said...

Years ago there was a character in Starsky & Hutch called Female (pronounce ALL the syllables). Obviously a girl. When this was queried she said she was the 8th daughter and her parents had run out of ideas.

Jenny said...

Hi Waffle. I’ve been following your blog for ages but this is the first time I’ve commented. I love your writing and I feel an affinity with you as a Brit who has lived in Brussels (I was very sad to leave), and I’m a lawyer (not a very good one). I’m also a world-class procrastinator and my house is in a permanent state of slovenliness, if that’s a real word.

Anyway, I’ve never commented before because I didn’t have anything very interesting to say, but I feel I can contribute a little something to this discussion. I know children called Nemo (boy), Sibella (girl – doesn’t that sound like an unmentionable disease?), and how about twins named Beau (b) and Tai (g)? I kid you not.

I’ve also noticed a tendency for parents to compensate for dull surnames with outlandish first names: I give you Dorinda Binns and Zenda Mudd. And finally, slightly off topic but I think I should share that I once worked with a probate lawyer whose surname was De’Ath. That is all.


sue said...

These are some of the funniest comments I have read. What a great topic.

Anonymous said...

My mother's first husband had Cockshott as his surname. Needless to say, my mother kept her maiden name. They did call their daughter Aysha, and son Tunde. With a surname like Cockshott, you might as well go for it with the first names, I suppose. My sister is a GP - Dr Cockshott, of Wangford surgery. I myself have named my own son George, after the clothing range in Asda. Joke, that last bit is a joke. We just liked the name.

Alison Cross said...

Once knew a bloke whose name was, honestly Miles O'Toole.

Hippy Names: Vagina - has to be a girl. She can call herself Gina when she's old enough to be mortified by her parents.

Looooved the short film of your dog. He is not daft. He just doesn't fancy putting his face into the water. He's not a duck, after all.

If I was a hippy child, I would want to be called something like Stardust Earthsinger.

Hmmm - is there a gizmo for that, how to work out your hippy name?

1) Look out your window and the first thing you see is the first syllable of your hippy name

2 Choose a suffix - dust/light/song

3 Surname - your favourite Star Wars Character

I would be Road-song Leia

sonshine would be Blackbird-dust Chewbacca.

Ok, as a system it still needs a bit of work...

Ali x

Marie said...

Vanilla,Mirabelle,Frangipane (!!) and Pomme (Apple)

no shopping list. just some of my old classmates !

(maybe it was the mothers getting revenge for all those pregnancy cravings ?)

and my kids had a Tiger Wood at their nursery (golf mad parents I suppose)

Anonymous said...

The lovely twins Denim and Lace (girls).

sara said...

Actual names of people I know:
Star (she will make you spell it * if you put her number in your cell phone), who is the mother of Lute (boy), and Leaf (girl).
Aries (boy), Orion (boy), Ocean (girl), Apple (girl), River (boy).

How about Lentil?

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